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Soufflé: not just for the master chefs.
They may look tricky to make, but the truth is, by following a few basic steps, you—yes, you—can make one, too.
What Is a Soufflé?
A soufflé is a baked dish recognizable by its crispy outside and fluffy inside—and its ability to collapse the moment you make one tiny mistake.
But don’t let that stop you from making one!
Soufflés are French, and their name comes from the French verb “souffler,” meaning “to inflate.”
The soufflé cake was invented in 18th century France. But it didn’t grow in popularity until Marie-Antoine Carême, a famous French chef, published the recipe in the 1814 cookbook Le Pâtissier Royal Parisien.
Since then, soufflés have remained popular due to their versatility (as well as their deliciousness).
What Is in a Soufflé?
The basic ingredients are butter, flour, milk, salt, eggs, and cream of tartar.
The most important ingredient is the eggs, or more specifically, the egg whites, which cause it to expand in its signature way, puffing over the top of the soufflé dish. (They’re also the ingredient that can make it so delicate.)
That’s the basic recipe, but depending on if you’re making it sweet or savory, there are a lot of other ingredients you can add, too.
Types of Soufflés
There are two basic soufflé types: savory and sweet.
Let’s start with savory soufflés, which are typically served as a main dish.
A savory soufflé almost always includes cheese. You can make a plain cheese one (which is truly anything but plain) or add in other ingredients.
Some ideas? Add a vegetable to complement the cheese, such as spinach with cheddar or leeks with gruyere. You can also add a meat—ham and gouda is a delicious combo, as is bacon and comté. This herbed potato soufflé recipe adds potato and spices into the mix.
Sweet soufflés include sugar, as well as chocolate sauce, berries, powdered sugar, or any other type of dessert-y sweetness you desire.
There are equally as many ways to make a sweet soufflé as there are to make savory. Keep it simple with a classic vanilla or chocolate soufflé, or add fruit, like in berry soufflés or passion fruit soufflés.
Each of these recipes will walk you through combining your ingredients, whipping your egg whites just so, and baking your soufflé to perfection.
Pro tip: The key to not letting it fall is not letting the heat escape the oven. So try hard not to check on it until at least 20 minutes are up!
Make Your Soufflé Today
Double Chocolate Soufflé
A Ramekin? A Dish? A Soufflé Pan?
What do you use to make a soufflé?
A ramekin is the traditional dish, but if you don’t have a kitchen stocked with every sort of baking supply there is, never fear: It’s not the only path to a good soufflé.
Some other options:
- An ovenproof coffee cup
- An unglazed flower pot (yes, really—just clean it well first)
- A ceramic casserole dish. The key here is if the dish is large, you’ll likely have to double the recipe and ensure your ingredients are spread evenly.
A ramekin is best, but if you measure out all the ingredients right and follow the instructions, you can have a perfectly delicious soufflé from any of these options.
How to Eat a Soufflé
Soufflés: not only intimidating to make, but intimidating to eat, too.
The key thing is to eat it as soon as it’s served, or it could collapse in the middle first. So serve it right out of the oven, with all your sides, sauces, and condiments ready to go when the soufflé is.
If it’s a small soufflé, you can serve it directly in the ramekin or mug. For a larger one, you may want to remove it first, but just know that taking it out of its dish can increase the likelihood of it collapsing before you serve it. But then again, if it’s one you plan on sharing among several guests, you’ll be cutting or scooping into it, so the collapsing is less important. You can also dump it out upside-down—a well-made soufflé will hold its shape.
You can eat it with either a fork or spoon. Typically, savory soufflés will come with a fork to catch all the heartier ingredients, while sweet will come with a spoon for the sauce and berries.
How Will You Make It?
As you see, you don’t have to be Julia Child to successfully make a soufflé. The key is using the right dish, the right ingredients, whipping your egg whites just so—and like with any culinary adventure, having fun with it!
Expand Your French Baking Skills
French Pastry Fundamentals: Soufflé, Tarts, and Chocolate Mousse Cake